Designing Emotion Into New Products

RKS uses emotion as a starting point for new product design. This episode of the Product Design Show looks at the Kor water bottle and how decisions designers made at the concept stage makes buyers feel better about themselves.

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Transcript For This Video

In early innovative engineering design, much of product development attention was paid to ensuring the products were functioning optimally and not on how they looked. It is now widely understood that users engage interactively for emotional reasons and adopt products based on rich and fulfilling experiences, yet few companies look at emotion explicitly as a starting point for strategy and design. Today there¦s one firm that is unique in believing that design has to go even further. That company is RKS and their recent project of a complete design through manufacturing process for a KOR reusable water bottle.

The bottle had to be made of materials that were as healthy for consumers as they were for the environment. The product had to be easy to drink from and have a (big gulp÷ feature to allow a high-volume, thirst-quenching flow. The cap had to offer one-handed operation and be impossible to lose. All these features and more had to be delivered in an eye-catching package that appealed to consumers seeking a luxury product to elevate their lifestyle. While most common bottles use a screw top, requiring one hand to hold the bottle while the other loosens the top, the challenge to the engineering team was a one-handed operation and a worry-free cap that users wouldn¦t have to be concerned about losing. After extensive feasibility testing in their in-house model shop, RKS developed a lid with an innovative latch mechanism. With just the press of a thumb, the latch releases, freeing the lid to hinge back and stay put to give clear, unobstructed access to the mouthpiece. When the lid is flipped closed, the latch automatically resets. The soft, built-in gasket keeps the bottle securely sealed even when the KOR ONE is lying flat on a table or in a bag.

The trim of the KOR ONE frames the vessel, treating it like a piece of art the user can be proud to display on their kitchen counter or on their office desk. The final frame treatment is of a semi-translucent white that evokes a glacier like quality v liquid water surrounded by the most pure ice found in nature.

The frame extends above the cap to provide additional points of engagement. Having observed that people often carry water bottles by grasping them from the top, the designers created openings in the frame that provide finger holds, making the KOR ONE easy to handle even when your hands are full.